Strikeforce’s top five most memorable moments

Maggie Hendricks

This is the end. Not of MMA, but for Strikeforce, the promotion that got on network television and welcome female fighters well before the UFC. With their last event on Saturday night, the time is right to look back. These aren't necessarily the most exciting or well-contested fights. These are the ones that will stick out in MMA's collective memory when we think about Strikeforce.

5. Scott Smith's comeback win over Cung Le: OK, so maybe this fight isn't wasn't incredibly important in Strikeforce's title picture. But it was a fight that will always make me think of how Strikeforce's sometimes weird matchmaking resulted in some improbable fight results. In December of 2009, Le owned Smith for two and a half rounds, but then Smith came back to throw the perfect punch and then win by knockout.

4. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos wrecks Gina Carano: Strikeforce paved the way for female fighters, and their biggest move was making this bout the main event of their August 2009 card. Carano was MMA's most popular female fighter, while Santos was the most feared. Santos easily won the bout, but the more important result was that fight fans proved that they just want to see good fights, regardless of gender.

3. The brawl in Nashville: With a card on CBS in April of 2010, Strikeforce had the chance to leave an impression on MMA fans. Mission accomplished, though it wasn't exactly the impression Strikeforce was hoping for. After Jake Shields outlast Dan Henderson to win the Strikeforce middleweight championship, Shields was surrounded by his friends, family and teammates in the cage during his postfight interview. Jason "Mayhem" Miller jumped into the cage to ask Shields for a rematch, and a melee broke out. CBS commentator Gus Johnson let slip the famous line, "Sometimes these things happen in MMA," even though they really don't, and the sport was stuck with a black eye.

2. Ronda Rousey's legend is born: While Carano-Cyborg paved the way, Rousey's bout with Miesha Tate brought women's MMA to a whole new level of popularity. The build-up to their March 2012 bout was as fun as the fight itself. Tate lasted longer than any of Rousey's previous opponents before finally submitting to an armbar near the end of the first round. Rousey won the Strikeforce bantamweight belt, opening the door for her to eventually become the first woman to sign with the UFC.

1. Fedor loses: Fedor Emelianenko was generally regarded as the best fighter to not be in the UFC, if not the best fighter in the world, period. His one loss was in a doctor's stoppage in 2000. But on June 26, 2010, his winning streak came to an end. Fabricio Werdum, a heavyweight with incredible jiu-jitsu skills, maneuvered Emelianenko into a triangle armbar, and it was over. Emelianenko submitted, and went on to lose to Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson.

What moments from Strikeforce's run stick out the most for you? Speak up in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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